The White House is creating a new agency to help counter cyberthreats, analyzing intelligence from around the government so it is better equipped to deal with attacks.
The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Centre, explains The Wall Street Journal, will be responsible for coordinating intelligence from other agencies to streamline defenses against sophisticated hackers. The government already has the National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the U.S. military's Cyber Command to respond to threats, but the new agency is designed to streamline its approach.
The creation of the new office highlights a deepening concern in the US over cybersecurity, with President Obama's recent budget proposal projecting a 10% increase in spend for the 2016 fiscal year. Government officials described the recent hack on Sony Pictures as a "game-changer," reports Reuters, forcing it to rethink its strategy.
Lisa Monaco, homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, explained in a speech: “The threat is becoming more diverse, more sophisticated and more dangerous, and I worry that malicious attacks... will increasingly become the norm unless we adapt quickly and take a comprehensive approach.”
Monaco added, "The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policy makers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence."
Not everyone is convinced, however, and some privacy experts have dismissed the new agency as unnecessary bureaucracy, positing that it could used by the government to expand its role in monitoring online activity, according to The Guardian.
Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology said in an interview with the paper: “We are keen to hear from the White House about the measures it will impose to ensure that this new agency operates transparently, with effective independent oversight, and does not become a repository for personal information unnecessary to counter cyberthreats.”